So much has been said against the program to introduce the use of hybrid rice seeds to improve rice production.
In fact, we in the Department of Agriculture have been accused of promoting hybrid seeds because we are financially gaining from the program.
To those accusing us of corruption in the seeds procurement, my response is: prove it or better still show us how it is done because I believe you are the experts in corruption and conflict of interest transactions.
Here is the real reason why we are promoting hybrid seeds, this story of a farmer who set the record of highest harvest of 16.63-metric tons per hectare.
Compare that to the national average of only 4.38-metric tons per hectare.
In the hybridization program, we are not even targetting 16 metric tons but just a conservative 6 metric tons per hectare per harvest.
We are not also promoting a specific brand of hybrid seeds because rice seeds are area-specific, meaning a rice variety that performs well in Isabela Province may not perform well in Iloilo or Cotabato.
Besides, there two kinds of hybrids: the commercial hybrid seeds produced by private agricultural companies and the public hybrids developed by PhilRice which are grown by private seed growers.
Both hybrids perform very well but commercial hybrid seeds are more expensive costing up to P5,000 per bag for one hectare while the public hybrids range from P2,000 to P3,000.
With a total harvested area of 4.9-million hectares, a 2-metric ton increase in yield per hectare would mean an addtional 9.8-million metric tons in production of rice.
When milled with a recovery of 65%, that would mean an additional rice supply of 6.7-million metric tons.
Our national rice supply deficiency is only 500,000 metric tons.
Simple arithmetic, right?